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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Illegal Alien Pleads Gulty To Passport Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, Alien Harboring, And Registering To Vote In A Federal Election

An illegal alien who assumed the identity of a U.S. citizen, obtained a U.S. passport, and voted in the 2012 presidential election pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Abel Hernandez-Labra, age 44, an illegal alien living in Hampton, Iowa, was convicted of one count of making false statements in a passport application, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of making a false claim of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, and one count of harboring an illegal alien.

In a plea agreement, Hernandez-Labra admitted that he is a Mexican citizen who illegally entered the United States.  Hernandez-Labra admitted he purchased a birth certificate and social security number of an American citizen born in Puerto Rico and assumed that identity.  Falsely claiming to be a United States citizen, Hernandez-Labra used those documents to obtain Iowa driver’s licenses which he in turn, used to apply for and fraudulently obtain a U.S. passport in 2008 and to unlawfully register and vote in the 2012 federal election.  Hernandez-Labra also admitted that, during 2014, he harbored and encouraged an illegal alien to reside unlawfully in the United States by providing work and a residence and by not reporting the alien to immigration authorities.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Hernandez-Labra remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Hernandez-Labra faces a mandatory sentence of two years’ imprisonment on the aggravated identity theft conviction, and a possible maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment on the passport fraud conviction, and five years’ imprisonment on both the illegal voting conviction and alien harboring conviction, along with a $1,000,000 fine, $400 in special assessments, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Tvedt and was investigated by agents from the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Chicago Field Office; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the Iowa Division of Investigations and Appeals; the Iowa Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection; the Hampton Police Department; the Webster City Police Department; and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. 

Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.  The case file number is 14-CR-3036.

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Updated February 19, 2015